Honolulu ranks 28th among the nation's busiest commercial airports
HONOLULU Airport is either the 32nd busiest airport in the nation or the 28th busiest, depending on which Federal Aviation Administration list you are viewing.
One lists all airports, including those hosting private aviation, while the other is solely commercial airports, which is the list that ranks Honolulu higher.
The FAA creates two lists for a couple of reasons. For one, "some general aviation airports are very busy, such as Van Nuys, (Calif.)," said Ian Gregor, public affairs officer for the FAA's Western-Pacific Region. But Van Nuys is not a commercial airport; it is used mostly by private pilots, he said.
The other reason is that the news media likes to compare apples to apples, and it would make sense to rank Honolulu Airport among the commercial airports.
Van Nuys was the 20th busiest airport in 2006 with nearly 395,000 takeoffs and landings, down from more than 411,000 in 2005.
Honolulu is No. 32 on that overall list, with nearly 317,000 takeoffs and landings for 2006, down from more than 330,000 in 2005.
On the commercial airport list, Honolulu's No. 28 ranking is also one up from 2005. Many other airports' busyness rankings also rose in spite of fewer takeoffs and landings.
It is a trend the FAA has seen across the country, with the numbers of flights dropping but passenger counts seeming to go up.
"It seems airlines for various economic reasons ... are operating bigger planes, fewer planes, and packing them more full than they were in the past," Gregor said.
"Pre-9/11 a carrier wouldn't hesitate to run an airplane 55 to 60 percent full, but now you see 80 to 90 to 95 percent."
With Hawaii's visitor traffic it is hard to imagine that certain airports rank as busier -- such as airports in Cincinnati, Memphis and Anchorage -- not that those cities are chopped liver, or anything.
It turns out that Anchorage is "a big Federal Express hub, and so is Memphis," according to Gregor.
So Cincinnati's busier because of people flocking there for its famed Skyline Chili?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics' Web site, Cincinnati and Honolulu are major air traffic hubs, among 29 in the United states. The BTS defines an air traffic hub not as an airport, but an area serviced by airports. Anchorage and Memphis are considered medium hubs, if that makes you feel any better.
The Federal Communications Commission began Auction No. 68 yesterday, with bidders completing four rounds of competition for nine future FM radio stations, one of them at 107.5 in Kihei.
It went unsold in two previous FM auctions, but yesterday it drew bids of $99,000 from Maui-based Visionary Related Entertainment LLC; $109,000 from California-based Christian broadcaster Educational Media Foundation; $132,000 from Massachusetts-based LiveAir Communications Inc., and $261,000 in round four, from Indiana-based Shirk-Mays LLC, which has interests in other Hawaii stations.
The bidding resumes today.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com